I’ve spent most of today looking through 2 entire shelves of my library. Picking books out at random and remembering when I read them, where I bought them and how much I loved each of them. My shelves of Discworld stories are mostly inhabited by tatty paperbacks with cracked backs, but nonetheless it’s some of the most beloved.
Sir Terry Pratchett passed away today. He was diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s in 2007, and fought valiantly since then against such a horrible fate, yet somehow still managed to write books – even after he lost the ability to type the words himself.
Sir Terry Pratchett was probably the first favourite author I ever had. Those authors that you honestly love and happily devour everything they’ve ever written and really feel a close personal connection with. My shelves of 30+ books have been collected from literally around the world and each one has a story of its own in addition to the wonders inside from the mind of one of the cleverest, warm, funny and brilliant story tellers and wordsmiths ever.
I feel a bit silly being genuinely sad and shedding a tear as I consider the fact that someone I didn’t even know has passed away. But I feel like I knew Terry Pratchett. His words and stories are some of the most central and deepest in my reading history and book-loving heart. I have read them over and over throughout the years. I feel at home when I delve into the pages of the Discworld and consider its inhabitants (Rincewind, Granny Weatherwax and the magnificently written Death) as old, very odd and quite disturbing friends. And meeting Sir Terry in person was one of the few times in my life that I was actually (star)struck silent and absolutely unable to think of anything to say.
Because I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of meeting my idol many years ago. I stood in line for several hours for a scribble in his newly published illustrated novel, that I had spent the very last of my poor-student money for the month on, and I had no regrets. I had a head full of clever remarks or just kind words that would properly express just how much that funny-looking man in the black hat and white beard’s stories meant to me…
And all I managed was to say: “I’m Camilla – I really love your books”. And yet, the kind Sir Terry took the time to smile for the hundredth time that day and say thank you, and wrote my name and his next to each other.
Pratchett’s books and stories will forever be some of my most cherished and I will mourn the loss of one of the world’s most gifted and brilliantly humorous story tellers for a long time.